Members of Williams Lake’s Sikh community are inviting the person responsible for writing racist graffiti on temple property to “come in for a cup of tea” and get to know them.
“We are peaceful people. We follow a peaceful religion,” said Balhar Dosanjh, standing in the pouring rain Friday morning outside the Gurdwara Western Singh Sabha Temple located at 3015 Pine Street in Williams Lake.
Dosanjh has lived in Williams Lake since 1976 and considers Williams Lake his home. He is on the Gurdwara Western Singh Sabha executive and visits the temple to pray once, sometimes twice, per day.
The graffiti, written hastily in black marker or paint on a retaining wall, says “Welcome 9-11 contributors” and is visible on the driveway into the temple.
Dosanjh said he felt fearful immediately when he first saw it.
“I can’t explain it (the feeling),” he said. “It made me feel sick.”
Video footage obtained through temple security system shows a suspect dressed in dark clothing the morning of Tuesday, June 25 starting to write the graffiti, stop and then come back and finish it.
Dosanjh offered an invitation to that person responsible to come to the temple and “have a cup of tea, get to know us.”
He does not want to see this continue, as the Sikh community is still reeling from a 2006 arson at the temple which caused more than $1 million damage.
“We are peaceful people. If somebody want to come in and know who we are, what we do and how we preach, they can come in or phone us and have a cup of tea with us. If they spend time with us they will learn … that is my message to everybody. Come in, phone us, we will sit together.”